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Small and Mid-Sized Merchants’ Top Technology Adoption Barriers Revealed: MasterCard Study

Small and Mid-Sized Merchants’ Top Technology Adoption Barriers Revealed: MasterCard Study

South African small and mid-sized merchants cite cost (34 percent), data security concerns (23 percent) and lack of knowhow (21 percent) as the greatest barriers to technology adoption, according to the new MasterCard Merchant Scope study.

The study investigates how small and mid-sized merchants from the retail, services, restaurant and hospitality industries use technology, what barriers reduce their likelihood of technology adoption, and the business challenges they expect technology to ease. 

“When the technology that can help a small to mid-sized merchant grow is too expensive, or if data security concerns outweigh the benefits of new technology adoption, it becomes difficult for them to plan for growth or compete against larger merchants,” says Mark Hearne, Head of Business Development, MasterCard, South Africa.

The study found that while over two-thirds (72 percent) of surveyed merchants have an online presence, only one in five (20 percent) offers their customers the option to buy their products and services from an e-commerce website. Of the four merchant categories, hospitality merchants had the highest e-commerce presence at 45 percent, followed by retailers at 20 percent. Just nine percent of service merchants and six percent of retaurants have an e-commerce presence.

Hearne says that in the current retail environment, the consumer shopping experience starts long before entering a store, usually with research conducted online. This gives merchants the ability to make their goods or services available for purchase online too, and not just in-store.

“As tech-savvy consumers take advantage of emerging technologies like mobile devices or computers to access the internet to research their intended purchase, find great deals, or more frequently to purchase their products, businesses of all sizes should create an ‘always on,’ omni-channel presence to attract new and repeat customers,” he says.

Further findings reveal that sixty-two percent of payments are made electronically (debit, credit, via a mobile/smart device or EFT). Cash has taken a back seat with just 34 percent of the payments made this way. Cheque payments have all but disappeared from the merchant payment landscape, with only four percent of payments currently made this way.

“This is clear evidence that South Africa is moving towards achieving MasterCard’s vision of a cashless society. Less cash in the system benefits both merchants and their customers, and it significantly reduces the costs and risks of doing business as accepting and handling cash is expensive and unsafe,” says Hearne.

For more detailed findings, visit the interactive Merchant Scope website and research report titled, “Merchant Scope: Small to Mid-Sized Merchants Seek Competitive Technology in Omni-Channel World”.Visitors to the website can also create customised reports that show how businesses of a particular industry, market, or size responded to the survey questions, and get tailored insights for the segment that matters most to them.


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